This set samples Kuban's four great international releases, and adds two unreleased live tracks and a crisp performance from a radio appearance the band did in Germany in 1989. "Mabruk" with its light, brass-driven swagger, and "Sukkar Sukkar Sukkar," featuring Kuban's characteristic camel-clop groove and a warbling blend of brass melody and organ, were early hits and helped to win him international recognition. Kuban seems to have performed far more than he recorded, but there's certainly plenty of great material to draw upon. The tunes from his 1992 Walk Like a Nubian album are particularly satisfying, seeming to capture the band in it prime on the tumbling, soulful "Habibi," and "Bettitogor Agil (The Girl Sitting under the Date Palm Tree)" with its lush lend of flute, horns, strings, and percussion.
Some of the songs echo urban pop trends, like the hint of reggae in "Mabrouk Wo Arisna," or of shaabi in "Hela Houb." But although Kuban was certainly a modernizer willing to extend and transform Nubian music, the authentic feel of the village definitely remains a strong element in his sound, especially on a percussion and vocal oriented track like "Walla Abshero" and on swirling trance grooves with gorgeous chant melodies like "Gammal," the standout track from Real Nubian, the last album Kuban completed before his death in 2001.» (Banning Eyre, Afropop)
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